For the best of bush, beach and natural splendour, nature-lovers head for Maputaland, an eco-gem in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal. Bounded by the Lebombo Mountains, Indian Ocean and Thukela River, it’s also a Peace Park, forming part of the Lebombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area between Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa.
Covering 7000km of primal wilderness, it’s a region of striking biodiversity and endemism, where the elephant populations migrate freely across borders. It contains several large wetlands, 5 Ramsar sites and iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site, including Lake St Lucia, the largest estuary in Africa, and Lake Sibaya, South Africa’s longest and deepest freshwater lake, both plentiful with wildlife. World-renowned game reserves include Hluhluwe-uMfolozi, uMukuze, Ithala, Ndumo and Tembe Elephant Park, all providing outstanding safari opportunities.
Kosi Bay Nature Reserve, together with St Lucia Marine Reserve and Sodwana Bay National Park, a scuba diving hot spot and 15 km ocean protectorate offshore, rate among the world’s most beautiful water wildernesses with whales, dolphins, whale sharks, turtles and miles of white beaches for snorkelling, swimming, fishing, sun bathing and dune climbing.